For fans of murder mysteries there is a 'must-see' play at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown (in the Morris Museum). "Murder in Green Meadows" is billed as "a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat" and it delivers as promised. The play, presented via a series of short scenes, was originally a one-hour television play that writer Douglas Post developed for the stage. The Green Meadows in the title is the name of a new modern suburban housing development designed and built by architect/contractor Thomas (Jonathan Holtzman).
He and his wife Joan (Langley Brandon) have moved into their dream house, the former model home, and appear to be living the All-American dream but in reality theirs is a love-less marriage with Tom harboring a rage below the surface. The circumstances of their moving from their previous home is also clouded in mystery. A neighbor's son has disappeared.
They quickly become close friends with a young couple Carolyn (Elizabeth Simmons) and Jeff (Peter Kendall) who have moved in across the street. The friendship starts when Carolyn and Jeff arrive one morning without warning to greet their new neighbors. Jeff is a rather handsome, but meek consultant who fears for his job and Carolyn is a bright woman who just happens to be neurotic revealing to Joan that she had a psychological problem "not a breakdown exactly, more like a shutdown."
We quickly see that there is nothing idyllic in each couples relationship. What follows. (translation: this writer is trying to avoid any possible plot spoiler) is a series of mostly diabolical mind games with twists and turns that again are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Who murders whom?
The director of "Murder in Green Meadows" is Duncan M. Rogers who Bickford subscribers will remember directed the critically acclaimed production of the baseball comedy "Rounding Third." Rogers nicely guides a fine cast through the intricate web that is "Murder in Green Meadows."
Leading the excellent foursome as the dark? disturbed? diabolical? Thomas is the particularly impressive Jonathan Holtzman. Langley Brandon as Joan is a very attractive seductress...or is she? Elizabeth Simmons is perfect as the smart, but neurotic neighbor Carolyn. Peter Kendall is making a fine professional debut as the hapless neighbor Jeff.
"Murder in Green Meadows" may not be the equal of "Sleuth" of "Dial M for Murder, but it is a very satisfying mystery blessed with a fine cast. You have until Sunday February 17 to get a fun dose of chills and thrills at the Bickford.
The key production credits: Bill Motyka scenic design (excellent living room and kitchen set), Thomas Rowe lightning, Andrea Dente costumes, Ric McAllister props and costumes, Roman Klima sound, Yumi Matsuura the all important stage manager with assistance from Aubriana Sabino.
Reviewed by Rick Busciglio February 2, 2013
Remaining performance times include: Thursday, Feb. at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 8 and 15 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 9, 16 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 3, 10, 17 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 7, and 14 at 2 p.m.
Adult language. May not be suitable for children under 13. Parental discretion advised.
The theatre is located within the Morris museum at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 12-5 p.m.
Tickets: Reserved seats are $45 for the general public, $40 for senior citizens, $38 for Morris Museum and Bickford Theatre Guild Members, and $20 for students (18 or under or with valid college ID). Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more.
For tickets or more information, contact the Bickford Theatre Box Office at 973-971-3706 or visit morrismuseum.org.